Since July 1, a max contract extension of five-years, $207 million has been sitting in front of Russell Westbrook. He has yet to sign it. He hasn’t declined it, either. That has made some Thunder fans and executives nervous — last year after Kevin Durant left Westbrook signed a one-year extension almost instantly, expressing loyalty to the franchise, then went on to have a historic MVP season. This summer he hasn’t done anything.
It’s led to rumors Westbrook wants out. Lakers fans want to think he will join LeBron James on their team (where does that leave Paul George?), but Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report notes that’s not what most around the league expect to happen.
That said, when asked, various NBA executives believe Westbrook will eventually sign his deal with the Thunder.
Westbrook seems to be taking a page out of LeBron’s playbook — not quickly signing the deal keeps pressure on the organization to spend money and upgrade talent. Once Westbrook signs, will the Thunder owners continue to pay the luxury tax (they are $9.5 million over the tax line now)? It’s the reason LeBron has signed short deals in Cleveland, to keep pressure on Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers, and to give himself options.
Westbrook has options because he can get the exact same contract next July that is on the table right now from the Thunder. Technically Westbrook has until Oct. 16 to sign this “designated veteran” extension that gets him 35 percent of the salary cap starting next season, but after next season he will be a 10-year veteran and the Thunder can offer that same 35 percent to him. The money doesn’t change (if anything, it will go up a little if the cap goes up).
What Westbrook gets signing before the deadline is security — that’s guaranteed money. He probably will take that. But he doesn’t have to.
A trip to the DMV is never at the top of anyone’s list of ways to spend an afternoon. Still, it’s a necessary evil of adult life.
The DMV is a place for rules, one of the most common ones is that you are not allowed to smile in your picture for your driver’s license. In Cleveland, the DMV there has decided to make a small alteration to their camera setup to ensure that citizens follow this rule.
Specifically, they taped a photo of LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey to the camera that takes the driver’s license photos.
At least for this year, putting a photo of LeBron on a camera at the DMV in the Cleveland should keep straight faces on people getting their photo taken. However, seeing as the Cavaliers probably won’t be very good moving forward, it might be just as easy to tape a photo of the team logo up there.
It appears that everyone is upset about Lebron leaving for the LA.
DeMar DeRozan did not want to be traded from the Raptors.
He will eventually warm to San Antonio and the Spurs, but for a franchise that has seen star after star push their way out of town — Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Damon Stoudamire, and on down the list — DeRozan was the one guy who embraced the city, repped it, and not only said he wanted to stay but did just that. DeRozan was all in on Toronto and loyal, and they shipped him out anyway. It may well have been the right basketball move, but it was cold. And a lot of Raptors fans were not happy about how it went down.
DeRozan, classy as always, thanked the Raptors fans in a heartfelt Instagram post.
Someday they will retire DeRozan’s jersey in Toronto. Deservedly so.
LeBron James has been up front about this before: He wants to play with his son LeBron Jr. for a couple of years in the NBA before retiring. That son, about to enter ninth grade, would graduate in 2022 — the year the NBA is expected to go back to allowing teams to draft players out of high school, and the year LeBron’s Laker contract ends.
(Does LeBron Jr. want this? Of course he’ll say publicly he does, but would you want your dad with you in the locker room and on the road with you when you’re an NBA rookie finally out of the house and able to explore life a little?)
Taking that to the next step, Twitter user @Shady00018 pieced together an NBA 2K mixtape of LeBron playing with his son. LeBron saw it and LOVED it.
We’re a long way from that, but you know LeBron wants it to happen.
Kawhi Leonard is a member of the Toronto Raptors now. There’s no way of getting around it. Even with rumors swirling about whether or not he will be happy in Canada, the truth is that we have already seen some embrace of Leonard in the six.
Likewise, DeMar DeRozan is a member of the San Antonio Spurs whether he likes it or not. Now, each have been seen for the first time in their new jerseys.
The only catch? It’s via a video game.
2K Games decided to tweet out new rendered images of both players in their respective jerseys. To be honest, I don’t think they look all that bad.
It’s going to feel a bit like a real life franchise mode of NBA 2K19 when we see these guys on the court in their new kits next season. But eventually we will get used to it, much in the way we will no doubt get used to LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey or Tony Parker in a Charlotte Hornets jersey.
We’re going to have the matchup between the Raptors and the Spurs circled on our calendar next year. That is, if Leonard ends up playing in it. There still might be some doubts in that department.